Crews seek source of Saskatchewan oil spill on aboriginal land

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 24, 2017 1:02 PM

TORONTO (Reuters) - The oil spill clean up on an aboriginal reserve in western Canada continued on Tuesday as crews prepared to excavate the site to determine the source of the leak, the provincial government said.

A pipeline in the province of Saskatchewan leaked 200,000 liters (52,834 gallons) of oil last week, according to the government, which was notified of the leak on Friday.

The breach leaked the oil onto farmland at the Ocean Man First Nation, 140 km (87 miles) southeast of the provincial capital of Regina. No residences are close to the spill site but it is near a cemetery which is considered sacred land by the band.

Vacuum trucks are on the site to remove oil and contaminated soil, government spokesman Cole Goertz said by telephone.

Tundra Energy Marketing Inc, which has a line adjacent to the spill, is leading cleanup efforts, but it is not yet clear whether it is that company's oil.

Tundra, a privately held unit of Canadian grain trading and energy conglomerate James Richardson and Sons Ltd, released a statement saying it is cooperating with all levels of government and will ensure "the affected land is restored appropriately."

Oil pipelines are viewed by the oil-rich provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan as a critical lifeline to move crude to the coast, but they have drawn fierce opposition from environmental and indigenous groups.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Alan Crosby)